Welcome! The City of Champaign and MKSK have partnered to explore the possibilities of a new urban space for Champaign’s downtown core. The future Neil Street Plaza is perfectly positioned to become a dynamic space that will attract a diverse range of people throughout all seasons. We will provide a framework for a Plaza that is vibrant, comfortable, and well-used on a daily basis, while also providing flexibility for larger gatherings and events.
Through our placemaking exploration, we will identify ways to create a dynamic space to attract a diverse range of people – ages and socioeconomic status – throughout all seasons. We will study how various fixed elements can provide a “framework” for a vibrant and well-used Plaza, allowing for comfortable daily use, yet providing flexibility for larger gatherings and events. We will also consider the potential for programming the Plaza on daily, weekly, and monthly calendars. We will study measures to increase safety and deter negative activity within the Plaza. We will explore ways to integrate all modes of transportation and varying parking strategies within and at the edges of the Plaza. In conjunction with the Neil Street Corridor Plan team, we will examine the relationships between adjacent city streets, their alignments, configurations, transportation use, and patterns. Through all aspects of our design exploration we will reference other successful projects to spark dialogue. We will sketch preliminary concepts to test their viability, and we will prepare captivating renderings to generate enthusiasm.
Our firm’s legacy as planners and designers of high-impact urban places and spaces distinguishes us from others. On this project, we will listen through dynamic and meaningful outreach; seeking an understanding of what makes the Neil Street Plaza unique through local cultural, economic, and environmental factors. We will solicit input from residents, community leaders, City and technical staff, key local groups and organizations, and potential donors to actively test ideas, recruit interest, and build a constituency of support and enthusiasm toward an extraordinary future. We will work with City staff to identify stakeholders – the business owners, property owners and residents who are within the vicinity of the project area – and propose additional outreach tools to solicit input from residents who are not the ‘typical’ stakeholder.